Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Scene of the Crime

We saw a sparrow get chewed up today, on these very branches. Yes, Gentle Reader, this tree was the scene of a Very Graphic Event here at Greenridge Chronicles. A Cooper's Hawk caught a sparrow midflight, flew to the twist you see in the middle of this photo, and proceeded to eat it right there and then.

At first we were all quite enthralled. It was a perfect David Attenborough moment. I was possessed by the urge to start narrating everything sotto voce: "And now the Cooper's Hawk rests on the Garry oak with its prey, a single Song Sparrow, plucked out of the very air in an instant. The forest falls silent and watchful as the hawk disembowels its catch swiftly and efficiently, spilling not even one drop of blood." But the puffs of feathers swirling overhead periodically kind of spoiled the mood for me, and instead we all fell silent and watchful as the hawk ripped and tore, dipping his head every now and then as he swallowed. We stood there for what seemed like ages, watching that hawk, until he gave a final gulp and lifted off the branch. He circled a few times, then flew away towards Bird Lake.

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